AMIDST the holiday season rural businesses are asking the public for support by buying locally.

One event which allows Christmas shoppers to peruse a wide range of local producers is Hexham Farmers’ Market, which will line the streets this December.

Whether it’s home-made soap, jams, jellies and chutneys for stocking fillers, Christmas meat and poultry and fresh veg for the table or local beers and ales – organiser Peter Samsom is confident the market, which takes place on Saturday is the perfect place to pick up festive treats.

“If you’re willing to get a bit creative, you can find everything you need for Christmas dinner at the market,” he said.

“What makes shopping locally more beneficial than spending money at big, national brands or online is that every pound you spend is reinvested at some point into our local economy, and not going into the pockets of a corporation or to London.”

Another bonus of picking up meat, dairy and poultry at the market, is that consumers can speak directly to the farmers and suppliers about how their food in produced, said Peter.

The sentiment of shopping local in the run up to Christmas has also been promoted by the Country Land and Business Association (CLA).

CLA director north Dorothy Fairburn said: “Buying locally, whether it is seasonal festive food and drink, gifts or decorations, helps to contribute to a vibrant rural economy. There is certainly a variety of suppliers stocking quality local produce.”

“Many people will already be regular visitors to farm shops and farmers’ markets, recognising the high food and animal welfare standards of British produce. These businesses provide jobs, goods and services for local communities and provide a real boost to our economy.”

“Small Business Saturday provides an important reminder to consumers in supporting small businesses in their communities, not just in the run up to Christmas, but throughout the year.”

In its Rural Powerhouse initiative, the CLA estimates that if rural productivity per worker was raised to the national average, an additional £43bn could be added to national income every year.

“In the meantime we can all play our part by turning to local suppliers for your trees, turkeys and tinsel,” said Mrs Fairburn.

The CLA also reminded those working in agriculture and rural business who could be struggling over Christmas with finances or loneliness to get in touch with the Farming Community Network for support on 03000 111 999.